A.P. Civics Notes: Chapter 9
are active participants in the political scene, lobbying for certain causes.
There are so many interest groups in the U.S. because there are so many
differences, in opinion, because the Constitution contributes by giving so many points where
they can contact the gov’t (political authority is shared by the president, the courts, and
Congress), and because today’s weak political parties let lobbies work directly on the gov’t.
In Great Britain, centralization has made it so that only one group represents the
farmers, one represents industry, and so on…
is to try to influence gov’t decisions through petitions or other means;
are people whom, naturally, lobby for changes or actions.
The Birth of Interest Groups
The 1960s and 70s were a boom for the establishment of interest groups, but these groups also
sprang up quickly during the 1770s to agitate for American independence; during the 1830s-40s
to protest slavery (mostly religious groups here); in the 1860s, when crafts-based trade unions
sprang up; and during the 1880s-90s, when business associations were commonplace.
The biggest area of organization of interest groups came in the first two decades of the
century, when groups like the
Chamber of Commerce
American Medical Association
American Farm Bureau
American Jewish Committee
, and the
The 1960s-70s interest groups were mostly based on environmental, consumer, and
political reform issues and were sponsored by people like
Interest groups arise because of certain reasons (usually):
Broad economic developments create new interests and redefine old ones.
The farmers didn’t organize until they started selling their products through
forces that THEY could not control (railroads, etc…).
Gov’t policy helps create such groups (i.e. war creates veterans who can band
Grand Army of the Republic
was the first large such organization.